Wooden bookshelves filled with textbooks

Supporting Research Community

Theme: Supporting research

The Supporting Research Community is a forum for all staff at ACU member universities who are involved in supporting the research process, including research management and administration, research impact and uptake, and library services. Researchers at all levels are also welcome to join.

The community brings together colleagues from across the Commonwealth and creates a space for sharing knowledge, experience and good practice, discussing issues and solutions, showcasing ideas, and discovering potential avenues for collaboration. Members can also keep up-to-date with the latest trends and opportunities in the profession and promote the work of their team and university.

Universities are under pressure to attract funding and demonstrate research impact, and research offices and researchers are key to achieving this. The purpose of this Community is to support and build the capacity of research offices and staff in member universities, drawing on the ACU’s track record within the field of research management and uptake. It explores the following themes:


  • Research impact and uptake
  • Research administration
  • Research funding
  • Open access
  • Decolonising research
  • Research ethics and integrity
  • Professional development of researchers, including early career
  • How libraries support the research process in universities


Our communities are spaces where knowledge, capacity and resources can be shared. Crucially, they are practical, with activities that have a direct impact on the personal development of individuals, on university practice and on the wider world. Benefits include:

  1. Collaboration with community members, resulting in outputs that can be shared with the wider network and beyond. These collaborations may be supported by ACU grants
  2. Brokerage activities to create introductions between members, potentially resulting in new research connections, international guest lecturers, co-supervisors, virtual-mobility relationships, COIL relationships, or mentoring matches
  3. Attending or presenting at the community's events. Communities host at least three webinars per year and one major event every 18 months
  4. Advocacy on important issues for the community. Through the accredited status that the ACU holds, the community can help influence change in the higher education sector
  5. Quarterly newsletter – a round-up of international news, opportunities, and the latest reports and publications
  6. LinkedIn group – a private space for members to connect, share information, ask for advice and learn about opportunities
  7. Speaking opportunities at international events on behalf of the Community

By joining the ACU Supporting Research Community, the University of Johannesburg (UJ) Library was given a platform where we could share information and resources, find new opportunities, and became connected to the pulse of what is happening.

The UJ Library successfully hosted our first virtual international conference with speakers from the Community from Mauritius to Trinidad and Tobago to Hong Kong. The highlight of this collaboration will be a published peer reviewed book where speakers will contribute a chapter.

Reneka Panday, Coordinator: Marketing and Special Projects, University of Johannesburg Library, South Africa

Join the community

There are two main ways to be part of the community:

Join the community here

The community is open to all staff members and students at ACU member universities - with over 500 member universities in 50 countries, that’s a potential group of 10 million students and more than 1 million academic and professional staff.

Whether you are a professional, academic, vice-chancellor or student at an ACU member university, by joining you will instantly become part of a global collaboration with a diverse set of potential partners. You can join as many ACU networks and communities as you like, at any time. 

Steering Committee

The steering committee sets the vision, strategic direction and delivery plans for the community. Some committee members also lead a thematic group that focuses on a mission-oriented or subject based theme for the community. We have a selection process for recruiting Steering Committee members when vacancies arise. We will announce when there are opportunities to join on this page.

Being on the steering committee is a privilege, helping to shape the direction of development opportunities for research managers and administrators around the world – and have some fun along the way. I also benefit from networking and have had the opportunity to co-present with fellow steering committee member David Phipps, and contribute (virtually) to a conference in Johannesburg.

If you are thinking of putting yourself forward for the steering committee, don’t hesitate, join us and help professionalise research support.

D.Prof Simon Kerridge, Director of Research Services, University of Kent, UK

More information

To find out more, email SRC@acu.ac.uk

Explore the theme
Theme: Supporting research